Not only is December the busiest season for Santa’s elves, it is also the busiest time for many plastic surgeons and weight-loss surgeons. Many of these specialists report that they perform twice as many procedures in December, compared to the rest of the year.
The reason for this surgical upsurge is that after many cosmetic procedures patients want to have a period of time that they can evade the public eye while they are in the recovery period, which entails, bruises, swelling, and oozing. This holiday season is particularly favorable for those undercover healers because both Christmas and New Year fall on weekends. The goal for many is to undergo the procedure, hide out for several days, and recover enough to venture out to a holiday party with their “new look.”
The most popular procedures this time of year for plastic surgeons are those that require the most time for healing (i.e., face-lifts). A common facial procedure is known as the Fraxel Dual, which is a laser procedure that improves uneven skin texture and removes dark-pigmented areas such as freckles or sun spots. One treatment costs about $1,000 and up to six treatments may be required.
The procedure takes about 15 minutes during which lasers pass over the skin, boring tiny holes in the upper layer of the skin. This stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that makes the skin look supple and youthful. The top layer of skin eventually disintegrates, taking with it the sun-damaged pigmentation.
One interesting phenomenon is that in times of an economic downturn, many individuals will undergo plastic surgery procedures, even though it is usually not covered by health insurance; thus, it is a 100% out-of-pocket expense. A plastic surgeon informed me that in troubled economic times, an individual is prompted to undergo surgery that improves his or her insurance to appear more youthful for a job interview or just as an attempt to cheer oneself up.
One reason that bariatric, or weight-loss surgery, is popular in December is that of a health insurance deductible. At that time, many individuals will have met their annual deductible and want to schedule the procedure before a new year and new deductible occur. A bariatric procedure, which reduces the size of the stomach and can lead result in dramatic weight loss, can cost about $35,000, including hospital charges. These procedures may be covered by insurance because they improve an individual’s overall health. For example, hypertension and type 2 diabetes frequently resolve following bariatric surgery.
Angelenos in need of bariatric surgery need look no further than the UCLA Health System. State-of-the-art care is available at the facility. UCLA also is a leader in the fields of reconstructive and transplantation surgery.